50,000 expected at Earls Court extravaganza

The first visitors to the second Sail, Power & Watersports Show entered Earls Court in Central London today. By the close of play on Sunday some 50,000 other boat-lovers are expected to have joined them.

The largest boat at the show is a Bavaria 47, resplendent on the pool. But she is the exception to the ethos of this exhibition, which is really about small or smaller boats.

Sharing the 10 million litres of fresh water with the Bavaria are the more representative Southerly 32 and Southerly 38, as well as some rustic-looking tan-sailed gaff dayboats. There are also three J boats on the pool. Being launched at the show is the new eight-berth Grand Soleil 43 with an open transom.

Robert Court, the financier bankrolling the show, said: ‘People are amazed that the show is here, especially in the current economic conditions.’

One of the new features of the show is the boat auction, which this year has boats on its books from a Yarmouth 23 to a Sadler Starlight 35. It will run every day.

Buzzing in his wheelchair around the aisles of the show is Geoff Holt, the first quadriplegic to sail around Britain. He is here to sign copies of his book, Walking on Water, which tells the story of his ordeal. Hilary Lister, another disabled sailor, is at the show to re-launch her bid to become the second quadriplegic to sail around the country.